An unlikely pairing or a reckless act of inspiration? The contrasts on this split LP couldn’t be more obvious, but somehow the partnership works brilliantly.
Fraudband is an Australian duo (drums and guitar) that plays stark and evocative instrumentals, while Donovan’s Brain is a long-running American collective with roots in psychedelic West Coast and paisley pop. This LP, which you can buy on either side of the Pacific, gives each a toehold in the other’s musical market. As is often the way in these digital times, the vinyl comes with a download code for six extra tracks, all of them as good as the 10 LP cuts.
Half the Fraudband contribution comes from a CD release called “Blinkered vision and blurred horizons”, the rest of which ended up on a Bevis Frond split album. The Donovan’s Brain stuff is drawn from a seemingly bottomless well of material, pieced together by leader Ron Sanchez.
He never lets the grass grow under his boots so it’s no surprise to see another Deniz Tek single drop. Such things are essential, really, if you want to make money on the road in Europe and these two tracks were taken from a early sessions for a forthcoming Tek album.
“Crossroads” is a back-to-basics slice of chunky riff-a-rama that wouldn’t have been out of place on the Doctor’s “Outside” album back in his major label spin-off days. Its immediate and stripped-back production doesn’t sound as dense as that record but it’s coming from a similar Birdmanesque place. There's no fresh ground broken but most will feel there probably doesn't need to be.
Neil told us that rust never sleeps. On his fourth solo band studio album, Deniz Tek acknowledges as much, examining the oxidation that’s all around him in clinical detail. Relationships and places go under the microscope and are dissected - like a scalpel through a heart - with keen precision.
He’s taken it to the vertical, he's gotten all mean and twisted and more recently he’s been lost for words. “Fast Freight” strips things right back to the bone.
The cover doesn’t lie: It is indeed the good Doctor teamed with tattooists and former pro skateboarders Art (bass) and Steve Godoy (drums). It’s The Band Formerly Known as The Golden Breed. Nobody else. No frills, a few spills. Ten songs recorded over two days.
There was a track called “2Chloride Pam” that surfaced on a Japanese compilation many years ago, taken from a Deniz Tek and Godoy twins show. It exploded like a grenade. For all its spontaneity, “Fast Freight” doesn’t have that same recklessness. Which isn’t to say there’s not plenty here to please the fans, plus some variety.
It’s hard to imagine Deniz Tek fans being disappointed by his latest release. Radio Birdman fans, maybe not so much.
While Deniz’s last album, “Detroit”, was a brooding, introspective and dark reflection on urban and personal relationship decay, “Mean Old Twister” paints with a broader aural palette. Sax, harmonica and keys are woven into the sound at strategic points, to enhance Tek’s trademark guitar and guitar player’s vocal.
Fifteen years after it was recorded, this superb piece of Nomads ramalama sees the light of day as a split single with psychedelic collective Donovan’s Brain.
Recorded in Montana while they were sweeping through the nooks and crannies of North America, Sweden’s finest manage to lay waste to this rippling instrumental (written by studio owner and Brain ringmaster Ron Sanchez) like it was one of their own. This is desert driving music, simple as that. A big, fat fuzz bassline and tumbleweed guitars from the severely underrated pairing of Hans Ostlnd and Nick Vahlberg - supplemented by Sanchez and bandmate Richard Teece - make this something special.
Donovan’s Brain plays a whole different ball-game to the Nomads but the flipside keeps up the pyrotechnics levels. “Bread Man” is a Sanchez vocal-led heavy psych rocker fleshed out by Deniz Tek lead guitar. It’s over too soon. “Snow in Miami” eschews vocals and goes for a roughed up surf sound. It dates from 1998 with then-Brain guitarist Richard in place, adding some tasty skronk.
One of Australian underground music’s most special, enduring and well-travelled talents Penny Ikinger will play shows in Perth and Fremantle for the first time in May, en route to Japan to record with Deniz Tek.
If “Shambolic” needed a Facebook relationship status, it would use “It’s Complicated”.
It's a reconstructed Donovan’s Brain record, not intentionally written as a “concept album”, but becoming one along the way. It was recorded over the space of many sessions and three years, only to be left unfinished and abandoned for a decade-and-a-half.
The name’s a misnomer. It’s no shambles by any stretch, more a twisting and turning trip, set to words and music by principal band member Ron Sanchez.
Once upon a time, the mere mention of a new album by the Nomads would provoke howls of anticipation from anyone with the remotest appreciation for rock and roll. The praises of Sweden's Godfathers of Garage Rock were sung around the world - and justifiably.
A fresh album after what seemed an eon finds Donovan's Brain in fine, if geographically disperse, form. Core trio Ron Sanchez (vocals, keys and guitars), Bobby Sutliff (vocals and guitars) and ex-Atomic Rooster/Wayne Kramer/Spinal Tap (no shit) drummer Ric Parnell are at the centre with all sorts of collaborators making contributions recorded at six different studios.